“The Cause Bar hosted a thoughtful conversation on how to Create Space to Do More Good in support of Alliance of Moms, an organization near and dear to Kristiana's heart. Expert guest speakers, and AOM members, across key pillars of life -- Work, Home, Personal Life -- shared honest, real and immediate ways to get us all thinking about how we can clear up the unnecessary junk that takes up way too much space in our lives, in order to make space to do more of what we really care about and want to -- giving back.
KT: OVERWHELM: Creating organizing systems has a calming effect…physically and mentally. Give us one example of what and how to do this!
EE: Organizing your home and removing excess clutter has a calming effect in general. But if you are feeling overwhelmed in one area in particular, I'd start there. For example, if your mornings are chaos, look at everything that needs to be done in the morning and find ways to simplify, automate, or delegate. For example, I pack the kids lunches while I'm cooking dinner the night before - I already have all the tools and food out so it doesn't really add much time, but saves me the rush in the morning.
Eliminating unworn or ill-fitting clothing from your closets reduces the overwhelming feeling of guilt - the guilt of money spent on items we never wear, guilt for keeping clothing that doesn’t fit our current body type. This is not a great way to start every day, facing this guilt and feeling of being overwhelmed!
KT: LETTING GO: You posted something recently about the greatest step toward a life of simplicity being the ability to learn to let go. What are some easy ways to determine what to keep (our items as adults and for our kids stuff)?
EE: This is a tough one to learn as an adult - which is why I love organizing with children so much. It's so rewarding to teach them the value of being organized. As trendy as it is to say only keep the items that "spark joy," it really is a good measure of what to keep. If you love something, and it still functions, keep it! Jaimi (Brooks) has a values deck that I love using with clients - we determine the top five values that the client believes are the most important for living a great life. Once we have their top values identified, it becomes easier to determine what to keep and what no longer serves their life. It is so important to remember that learning to let go of what no longer serves us must go hand in hand with learning to stop whatever behavior contributed to the clutter in the first place. Physical clutter goes hand in hand with emotional clutter, and organizing systems last longer when you address both.
KT: GIVING BACK: Is there a way to approach your home organization or designing in a more meaningful and purposeful way? Donating old unneeded items immediately comes to mind, are there others?
EE: Absolutely donating is one way to give back. We always advise our clients to be thoughtful about their donations. For example, household items in good condition can be donated to places like A Sense of Home, or James Storehouse, where foster youth can receive these items at no cost. But giving back goes beyond the actual donations. Teaching your kids to declutter their toys or outgrown clothing not only teaches them how to stay organized - a valuable tool as an adult - but also teaches them the importance of giving back to their community. If you decide to consign items rather than donate, you can always donate a portion of your profit to your favorite charity!
Being mindful about how and where you spend your money is another way to give back. For example, Composed Living donates a portion of our profits to Alliance of Moms. Spend a few minutes researching your vendors and be sure you spend your money on things and people that are doing their part to give back.
Madewell stores will accept your used (in any condition, from any brand!) denim and give you a $20 credit toward a new pair of Madewell jeans. They take your old denim and recycle it into housing insulation through their partnership with Habitat for Humanity. This kind of shopping is the ideal - you get to declutter your closet, you receive a small financial incentive, and your unwanted items are responsibly turned into something useful! Good for your closet, good for your wallet, good for our planet.
KT: HABITS lead to lifestyle…give us one example of a habit that the audience can do starting now to create more space in their life and minds to give back.
EE: A few of my fave ideas for building good habits:
Keep a donation box somewhere in your home. Get in the habit of putting items directly into it as you find them, and you'll keep your home from accumulating clutter throughout the year.
Clear off surfaces before going to bed - spend ten minutes putting things where they belong, and you'll wake up to a tidier household and start your day on the right foot.
Label your kids' rooms - bins, drawers, bookshelves, everything. Teach them how to stay organized as early as you can!